Myanmar Trip Part 7
Ok… So… this was amazing… Unprecedented. Wow… We will never forget this.
It was like this incredible outdoor banquet and we were the guests of honor.
Remember how I told you that we were laying low for a while because of some of the opposition in the community because of the Christian presence???
Yeah, so, we were laying low until BOOM. We got an invitation to dinner. But not just any old invitation. This one came from the local school.
The school that we ran the eyeglasses clinic at, the place where we did fun kids stuff, the place where we partnered with the community a number of months ago to build their new building which allowed them to offer older grades and more classes.
Alright. Great. We were a little tired. We hadn’t heard about the invite until the last possible moment (classic). But hey, sure, why not? AND WOW.
We walked the 30 minutes to the school and as we approached (in the dark) there was a big crowd of people waiting for us, a big loooong table set for our whole team, TONS OF FOOD, outdoor lights out up. It was like this incredible outdoor banquet and we were the guests of honor. You should have seen our Myanmar ministry team’s faces… priceless, jaw dropped, shocked.
They could not believe it. We knew it was special but our Myanmar friends told us that this was unlike anything they had seen before. It was outdoors, PUBLIC. A HUGE statement to the whole community all around that not only were we welcome, but we were friends, partners, working together for the good of the place, for the good of their children.
We invited them to church the next morning, but if we were honest, we didn’t expect them to come. We love them, they’re our friends, they made a bold statement, but their Buddhists. And coming to church would be a huge cost. So we made the invite but we were realistic…
They came. They came to church. And they were attentive. They listened. They smiled. They were present. They knew we cared for them and their children and their community, and they knew this was important to us. Four Myanmar ministers shared, so did Paul. It was beautiful. Our motorcycles drivers also came, so did the cooks who took care of us all week, so did some people who received glasses.
And you have to understand… this isn’t just trying out a church and seeing what it’s like, like it might be for someone in our culture. But in this culture, in that area, it was a bold statement. Everyone in the area would have heard that these people came to church. They took a risk. They risked upsetting the other religious group in the area, they risked their standing in the community, they risked rocking relationships, and they did it to be with us and to hear about Jesus, most of them for the first time in their lives ever.
This people group we are working with is virtually all Buddhist. And not just Buddhist, but almost all of them would never have met a Christian before in their lives. They would have never heard the name of Jesus before. Ever. But for the first time, they heard the gospel preached at the farm, from loving friends who care about them.
It was beautiful.
After that huge breakthrough, we packed up and trekked out of the farm back to the main road.
So… we got back to the main road.
And someone needed eye glasses at the tea shop we stopped at. So we pulled everything out and did an eye glasses clinic at the tea shop by the side of the road.
And then a “bus” stopped nearby and some of the people came into the tea shop. But this bus was open to the air and had loud music, Burmese covers of English songs. Out of nowhere…. Paul starts dancing. Alone. In the middle of the road. Everyone watching him. And then Janelle and Cayla joined in. And then they started dancing and smiling and pulling people off the bus, and the Myanmar people we hadn’t even met started dancing. I just about spit out my drink I was laughing so hard. It was hilarious.
Then we found out that a number of them were teachers. We got chatting, we were able to give them a laptop and Fedwell food soups. They added our partners on Facebook, and it turns out they work at a school just a few miles away from the farm. Now there is a new relationship with another community we are praying that we will have an invitation into where the gospel can be shared in word and in action.
And we also know now that Paul has some killer dance moves!
Dave, Louise, Tom, Lisa, Cayla, Janelle, Andrew, Paul, Kathryn